Arkansas Amateur Radio satellite enthusiast Dave Swanson, KG5CCI, on September 5 topped the satellite contact distance record he had set just a few days earlier. Operating from an old US Forest Service fire tower atop Rich Mountain in extreme western Arkansas (EM24uq01mu), Swanson worked Manuel “Dom” Ruiz, EA5TT, in Valencia, Spain (IM99sl48cx), via the venerable Oscar 7 (AO-7) satellite, operating in Mode B (U/V).
“[T]his equates to 7947.381 km (4927.3 miles), which we believe to be a new record for AO-7 Mode B,” Swanson said in a posting to the AMSAT-BB. Unlike his FO-29 record-setting contact on August 27, the contact between KG5CCI and EA5TT was scheduled in advance. Swanson recorded the contact and posted it on YouTube.
On August 27, Swanson worked Christophe Lucas, F4CQA, in Trouy, France, by responding to his CQ. Swanson was operating on Arkansas’ Shinall Mountain at the time. The two operators calculated that their contact spanned 7599.959 km (4712 miles). That appeared to break the previous distance records of 7537.799 km between W5CBF and G4DOL, and 7538.685 km between K4FEG and DK1TB, set on FO-29.
“I’ve made some really interesting observations when it comes to satellite operating from places with great Height Above Average Terrain and look forward to sharing this analysis with everyone,” Swanson said.
AO-7, the oldest, still-active satellite, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on November 15, 1974. It went silent in 1981 due to battery failure, but it came back to life on June 21, 2002. AO-7 now will only operate when it is in sunlight.